Date of Award

Winter 1-6-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art and Design

First Advisor

Susan Richmond

Second Advisor

Kimberly Cleveland

Third Advisor

Juliana Kubala


My thesis focuses on David Wojnarowicz’s exploration of the “essence of death” through his art. I argue that Wojnarowicz had specifically employed the aesthetics of the abject to challenge what he termed a “pre-invented existence,” living and dying on the terms of a necropolitical state that seeks to control life’s intensities. Through visual manifestations of death, dying, decay, and disease, the artist used the abject to express existence beyond the grasp of political and social systems that refuse to afford minority groups the resources, opportunities, and dignity to survive.


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